War Eagle Extra

Auburn ‘really doesn’t know’ if RB Kamryn Pettway will play Saturday

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway takes a handoff against Vanderbilt Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway takes a handoff against Vanderbilt Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway missed practice Tuesday with the leg injury he suffered against Vanderbilt.

He was back on the practice field in a limited capacity Wednesday, but his status could be a mystery that doesn’t get solved until the Tigers take the field Saturday in Athens.

“He was out there (Wednesday),” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said of Pettway. “He was out there today. At this point, I would say he’s just day-to-day. Those kind of things, I really don’t know. So each day, we just kind of see how he’s doing. We’re optimistic he’ll be back very soon.”

Lashlee’s comments echoed what coach Gus Malzahn said on the SEC’s weekly teleconference earlier in the day.

“He’s healing, so we’ll see,” Malzahn said.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t taking any chances this week, having his defense prepare to face the SEC’s leading rusher regardless of what Auburn is saying about his status for Saturday’s game.

According to The Telegraph’s Jason Butt, the Bulldogs had a player on its scout team simulating Pettway down to the sophomore’s No. 36 jersey at Tuesday’s practice.

“We have to prepare as if he's going to be there…” Smart said. “I always thought that he could be a good running back, and he proved that to be correct. He's a real physical, downhill runner.”

Auburn will turn to Kerryon Johnson and Stanton Truitt if Pettway can’t play. Malzahn and Lashlee expressed confidence in the group being able to replace Pettway’s steady production.

“We got confidence in our guys and we’re going to try and put them in the best position possible to be successful and I know they’ll play hard and give us everything they got,” Lashlee said.

According to Lashlee, Johnson is the healthiest he’s been since injuring his ankle against Mississippi State.

“You got to remember, he’s the guy who against LSU rushed for almost 100 yards against that run defense, which is phenomenal,” Lashlee said.

Lashlee said Auburn might have two 1,000-yard rushers if injuries hadn’t limited the running back in recent weeks.

“There's still more left to be played in the season so we'll see,” Lashlee said. “I feel good about where he is.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra